Requiring someone to show a photo ID when voting is not the evil some have made it out to be. Neither is widespread early voting.
Close observers of the political scene in Missouri know this but others may be unaware: These two issues are stalled because neither political party wants to let the other’s proposal become law.
Democrats fear Republicans will keep Democrat party loyalists from voting if a photo ID becomes a requirement. The thinking is older voters in the inner cities would be among those potentially the most affected, and many of those voters are Democrats.
Republicans fear Democrats will try to use an expanded voting period to pack the polls with Democrats. The thinking is Republicans lose an advantage when the rules allow ballots from those who otherwise might not make it to the polls on Election Day.
We see problems with both positions. Our views:
Approve photo ID for voting: Anyone legally entitled to vote should appreciate efforts to ensure the integrity of the ballot box. We do not require evidence of previous widespread fraud to appreciate the merits of this requirement.
In this day and age, it is not asking too much for adult citizens to be prepared to present a photo ID at their polling place. For that small number of citizens who might lack such a common piece of identification, a reasonable law will make provisions to assist them in obtaining an ID without denying them the chance to vote.
Approve expanded early voting: Use Thursday’s report from the statewide Early Voting Commission as a starting point. This group, convened by Secretary of State Jason Kander, comes with the baggage that Kander is a Democrat. But the provisions it advances appear reasonable, accommodate voters of both parties and would bring Missouri in line with 35 other states on this subject.
The recommendations would retain protections of current law while allowing registered voters to cast absentee ballots by mail without needing to state an excuse; allowing early ballots to be cast in-person on electronic voting equipment at a central voting location; and aligning the period of in-person early voting with the current absentee ballot period.